This psychological thriller involves split brain research, animal rights, and a love quadrangle. It was originally published in hardcover by Bantam-Doubleday-Dell.
Neuropsychologist Clare Austen conducts research on the leading edge of reality. She has been intending to cease her experiments with Tommy Dabrowski before she becomes too emotionally involved with this appealing but married rock musician. Then personal considerations are swept aside by a high-voltage chain of terrifying events, which begins when Clare's mentor - the eminent Dr. Stanford Colton - is murdered in his university office. The only person to encounter the killer is Clare's most problematic experimental subject. But Tommy is a split-brain patient: only half his brain can still communicate to the outside world - and it's the other half that's a witness to murder. Clare's academic work now takes on a sharp urgency. Only by cracking Tommy's neural codes can she unlock the deadly secret trapped in the silent half of his brain.
As fresh crimes slash through the research community, the usually cautious Clare plunges into the investigation, despite threats to her life and the chief detective's severe warnings against interference in his case. Plagued by turbulent memories and unnerving suspicions, Clare must adapt her esoteric experiments to life-or-death stakes, in the wild hope of extracting a clue to the killer's elusive identity. Before she and Tommy are through, they discover great horror on that edge of reality.
|File size:||406 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
... Concert stage, dark except for a deep blue spotlight. Singer drops to one knee and his narration evolves from murmur to rant. "This is the story of a man who got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got what he wanted but he lost what he had. He got –" ... It goes on forever. It's mesmerizing. Uncomfortable. Confessional. Pretty sure this memory is from the time I saw James Brown, decades ago, but the lost identity of the singer isn't the point. I've spent my life gazing across some fence or other, admiring greener grass over yonder. I've acted on so many impulses to jump the fence. No complaints, but it has sure taken me a long time to appreciate where I'm standing right now. And nowadays that blue spotlight chant fills my head whenever I contemplate a new jump. Sometimes I jump back. I was a low–budget television producer until I wrote a psychological thriller, "Was It A Rat I Saw", which Bantam–Doubleday–Dell published in hardcover in 1992. Soon after that I became the mother of twins, jumped into graduate school, and became a disaster scientist. I dabbled in academia, government research, and consulting. I stopped writing fiction for nearly two decades, until I noticed how much I missed it. I resumed writing novels with the literary fiction "Scar Jewelry" about a family with secrets that started in the era of Los Angeles punk and persist for decades; then began the speculative detective quartet FRAMES, with "Nica of Los Angeles" and "Nica of the New Yorks". Also in progress is a nine novella series, the young adult paranormal horror romance, "DDsE". Funny. Back in the day, I had a single book idea at a time. Now I'm flooded with them, can't keep up with them, though I write just about every day. I live in southern California. I had to leave for five years to confirm this is where I belong. I live with multiple cats, comfortably close to my twins and granddaughter. Like my life paths, my friends and family are all over the damn place. I like to visit them, spend time at the ocean, explore cities, and go out to hear live music.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The academic setting is fertile ground for a cast of smart, quirky characters involved in brain research and drawn into a complex web of hidden agendas and murder. The idea of split-brain research may seem daunting to readers without a scientific background, but the science is made accessible and compelling in the context, and the story does not fall into the trap of getting bogged down in overly technical explanations. The pacing is taut and the deftly handled twists and developments kept me immersed in the plot.from start to finish. Unusual subject, engaging characters and plenty of surprises make this intelligent and unusual thriller a very entertaining read.
I really wanted to like this book, and for the first several chapters I did. I was fascinated by the split brain phenomena described by Perry; my younger daughter also had brain surgery for epilepsy (in her case, a partial hemispherectomy rather than a commissurotomy), which led to some challenging side effects and personality changes, none of which, fortunately, were as severe as those suffered by Tommy and Cynthia. I think that one of the valuable purposes of literature is to remind us that, no matter how difficult our problems, someone else always has it worse, and Was It a Rat I Saw? certainly convinced me how lucky we were that our daughter came through her surgery comparatively unscathed. Unfortunately, I soon got to the point where the detailed descriptions of the various tests Clare was running on Tommy were irritating, rather than interesting. It seemed to me that Perry couldn't quite decide what kind of book she wanted to write: a medical thriller à la Robin Cook or a popular exploration of neurological oddities à la Oliver Sacks. In trying to accomplish both, Perry managed to produce neither. The repetitious testing episodes detracted from the pace of the thriller, while the thriller provided an awkward framework for the neurological expositions. *SPOILER* I also felt that Perry set up certain expectations which she never fulfilled. For example, I quickly realized that the title, Was It a Rat I Saw?, was a palindrome, i.e., a phrase that reads the same both backwards and forwards. This led me to anticipate that palindromes would play a key role in Tommy's split brains being able to identify the killer, yet they ended up being irrelevant to the storyline. Similarly, there appeared to be significant foreshadowing with respect to Clare's previous nervous breakdown; while she did suffer another, albeit brief, breakdown in the book, it did not contribute anything to the plot. The side storyline (too superficial to be called a sub-plot) relating to Cynthia also ended up going nowhere. Overall, I believe the book would have been much better had it been at least a third shorter. *END OF SPOILER* Finally, I found the large number of typographical errors to be distracting. When I should have been engaged in the story, I actually found myself more entertained by the challenge of figuring out the correct word: "poised," not "posed"; "bland," not "land"; "bushes," not "buses"; "wished," not "wised"; "sampling," not "sapling"; and on and on. Although I can't find it now, I believe I saw somewhere that this was Perry's debut novel, originally published in 1992. As such, it probably is not a fair example of her current writing. While it ultimately got lost in the shuffle, her premise in Was It a Rat I Saw? was sufficiently intriguing that I will be looking for Perry's more recent books. I received a free copy of Was It a Rat I Saw? from the author in exchange for an honest review.